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2nd Lieutenant Harry Norbury Nuttall


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Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery XIII.A.4

Royal Army Service Corps attached Heavy Brigade Machine Gun Corps HQ, 3rd Brigade

Age 30

KIA 5.7.17

Eldest son of Harry Nuttall, Liberal MP for Stretford Division of Lancashire 1906 to 1918. He married Edith and they had one son and two daughters. He was a supporter of women’s suffrage. A successful grain and oil import merchant, he was also President of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce.

 

Early Life

Harry was born on 31 May 1887. He attended Harrow and then Lincoln College, Oxford and graduated with a BA with Honours in Law. He set up in business as an India and China Export Merchant. Harry Married Meryll Nield on 10 June 1914 and they had a son Vernon born on 17 July 1915. Meryl remarried following Harry’s death.  

He joined the Army Service Corps and obtained his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in October 1915. Arrived in France on 14 July 1916.

 

His Death

The 3rd Brigade consisted of ‘C’ and ‘F’ Tank Battalions and were to be attached to the 19th Corps for the Third Battle of Ypres. The ‘C’ and ‘F’ Battalions were to assemble at Oosthoek Wood north of Vlamertinghe. The site of the camp was on the north part of the wood and this wood was well known to the German gunners for in the area were many rest camps and artillery positions.


Linesman Map showing the Oosthoek Wood, the rail links and the many camps in the area

The tanks were to be brought in by rail and unloaded using a ramp and this ramp was shelled by the Germans on a nightly basis. On the 5 July a shell had landed in ‘C’ Battalion lines and had nearly wiped out the Battalion HQ. Harry died of his wounds received recorded as severe shrapnel wounds to the head, shoulder, and abdomen. Following the shelling of the wood the tank crews were moved to the grounds of La Lovie Chateau on the Proven to Poperinge road with the tanks remaining under a small guard at Oosthoek.

 

The Heavy Branch of the MGC was the first unit to use tanks in the British Army. Army Order 79 of March 1917 approved the wearing of a special badge of a stylised tank on the upper sleeve of the service dress jacket of all ranks. On the 28 July 1917 the Tank Corps was formed from the Heavy Brigades.

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